The commercialisation of Limassol port will only be complete once the new operators reach mutually acceptable agreements with local stakeholders that safeguard their rights and responsibilities as Cyprus shipping enters a new era. This was the main message from the annual general meeting of the Cyprus Shipping Association (CSA), which took place in Limassol. The AGM was addressed by Transport Minister Marios Demetriades, who stated that this is a transitional phase for the port and everyone’s cooperation is needed at this point.
“As I have already said in the past, I firmly believe that the commercialisation of the Limassol port, as well as other reforms and growth oriented policies put forward by the government, are in the right direction for the much needed modernization. I would also like to point out, that the success of any effort relies on finding common grounds while collaboration and good faith are necessary from all stakeholders”.
The minister thanked the CSA for an excellent collaboration and emphasized that there’s great potential for further development. Analysing at length the various issues affecting Cyprus’ ports and shipping industry more generally, CSA President eginos Tsanos provided an overview of the state of play of negotiations with the new operators of the Limassol port, pointing out that, despite some consensus being achieved, key issues such as the legal standing of Cyprus’ stevedores, the level of the stevedoring cost, and marine fees incurred by vessels calling at Limassol Port, remain unresolved.
“I cannot hide the fact that such pending matters contain an element of risk and could affect the smooth transition to the new mode of operation”, said Tsanos.
Speaking about the CSA’s aim of establishing Cyprus as a transhipment hub, he said that “Limassol port has already started handling transhipment cargo associated with the energy sector, including cargo that will be used for the exploitation of the Zohr gasfield in Egypt. The transformation of Cyprus into a transhipment hub for the supply of energy companies in the eastern Mediterranean region requires important and immediate decision-making by all”.The CSA’s position was backed by both trade union bosses and key industry leaders. Both Andreas Matsas and Bambis Kyritsis, the heads of the largest and most rigid unions SEK and PEO, both pointed out that they stand together with the CSA in safeguarding the stevedoring profession, and offered their full support as and when required.
Similarly, Phidias Pilides, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, and Christos Michaelides, President of the of Employers and Industrialists Federation, both hailed the long-standing role that the CSA has played in supporting the shipping sector in Cyprus.The event was attended by a wide cross-section of stakeholders from the local shipping industry, and, for the first time, by representatives of companies active in the oil and gas sector, for whom the smooth and efficient operation of Cyprus’ ports is of paramount importance in moving forward with exploration and exploitation plans for Cyprus’ hydrocarbons reserves.
Source: Financial Mirror